One of Ghana’s most iconic musicians, Stonebwoy has lit up an otherwise grim 2020 with one of the finest albums of the year so far.
Stonebwoy hails from Alakple, a small town in Ghana’s Volta region. The town might not be the biggest in Ghana, but its role in Ghanaian history and mythology is significant. Alakple is written in many records as the home of the Nyigbla, the mythical god of war. The town’s locals, the Ameawo, are marked in history as the custodians or clan responsible for nugbidodo ‘settling disputes’
At the junction of Anloga and Dabala lies is a large mural, dedicated to famous American boxer George Foreman (although some sources claim it’s a bust of Muhammad Ali…). It might seem random until you learn a little more about Ghana’s history as a boxing nation. Just two hours away from where Stonebwoy grew up is the neighbourhood of Bukom; a small district in Accra which has produced 3 world champion boxers in the last 4 decades.
This fascinating backstory serves as the context for Stonebwoy’s fourth studio album. Much like his forefathers, Stonebwoy aims to settle all disputes on Anloga Junction and much like the champion boxers who have become idols in Ghana, the dancehall superstar emerges as a champion by the end of this record.
However triumphant it may seem, Anloga Junction is not so much of a victory lap as it is a journey to Stonebwoy’s roots: something that he was candid about in the build-up to the album’s release:
Despite his humble beginnings, Stonebwoy makes little or no attempt to hide his braggadocious persona. He brings more of that StoneGod bravado to Anloga, parading confidently through each song like around in a boxing match which he knows he’s about to win.
In Bow Down, he stands shoulder to shoulder (not literally; their height difference is massive in real life) with the Coolest Kid In Africa, Nasty C. The two musos trade verses and marry flows in a song that will definitely not feel out of place on your gym playlist. Meanwhile East meets West as Diamond Platnumz hops on to Black Madonna and the two spar lyrics and leave you to decide who is in better shape.
There’s a sprinkling of American influence as Keri Hilson lends her voice to the song Nominate which even debuted on the Billboard chart during the month of May.
Speaking to OkayAfrica, Stonebwoy explained why it was so important to make an album that was reflective of his home:
“It’s my countryside, my village, and that’s my ethnicity as well. So it takes me grounded into my roots, where you find me speaking a lot of languages on the song. The language that you don’t understand is mostly Ewe, which is the Anlo language. And “junction” is an English word which stands for all the experiences from the Western world and the rest of the world, so when I put these two together I’m at Anloga Junction in my mind. All these things inspired the sort of songs and the collection of this whole beautiful body [of work] that we put together for the album.”
And it is at this Junction that Stonebwoy finds authentic and worldly balance. Listen to the record for yourself and let us know if this is one of 2020’s biggest albums: